nd Big Ten Expansion:  What We Know

Teddy Greenstein nailed it on Tuesday as a guest on The Danny Mac Show when he stated “this is amongst the biggest non-story-stories” in quite some time.  That non-story-story of course is Big Ten expansion and the ongoing rumors as to what’s going on with the future of the conference.

For years there have been Big Ten fans who wanted the conference to pick up a twelfth team in order for there to be a conference championship game in football.  At first word of the recent expansion talks there were many who thought it would be a battle between the likes of Missouri and Pittsburgh or possibly Rutgers and Syracuse to be that all-important twelfth team.

Oh how we couldn’t have been more wrong.

In a college sports world that is now full of blog-generated rumors its obvious that change will be coming to the Big Ten.  We may not know everything that expansion will bring but we do know a few things and have no doubts about them.

1.  Notre Dame Will Not be “Offered”
Its the sexy pick everyone wants the Big Ten to make; bring in northern Indiana based Notre Dame and you get an impressive academic school who will also field competitive athletic programs.  Notre Dame would be a natural fit based on national notoriety but because they’ve rejected offers from the Big Ten in the past won’t get an offer from the Big Ten unless they make it clear they plan to join a conference for football.

2.  The Biggest Targets are Big East Schools
Connecticut, Syracuse, and Rutgers are the three schools that keep getting their name mentioned in rumors, but why?  The Big Ten Network helped bring in an extra $22 million for each member school to the conference last season without having a major presence in the northeast states.  If you add any of these three it then makes the cable companies in the northeast to pick up the Big Ten Network whether it brings in that many extra viewers or not.  By doing so that $22 million that the network brought in last year will only grow.

3.  Dream Matchups Galore
Everyone against Big Ten expansion likes to complain that with it we will see the Rutgers at Indiana type football games we aren’t excited about seeing in October.  Yes, there are plenty of ugly games that don’t currently occur that would now take place but looking on the bright side you’ll find plenty of positives.  Notre Dame vs. Ohio State on a yearly basis?  Michigan vs. Nebraska?  Pittsburgh and Penn State or Illinois and Missouri playing annually instead of occasionally?  Yes, please.

4.  A Shift Will be Forced in College Sports
Its obvious now the Big Ten won’t be only a twelve team league when it’s all said and done.  They plan on at least 14 teams with a chance of it growing to 16, do you think the SEC or Pac-10 will be thrilled with that?  Heck no.  Once expansion in the Big Ten is done we’ll see the SEC’s and Pac 10’s follow suit, setting up even more extreme power conferences than we see today.

Big Ten fans who love the current makeup of the conference can keep it in my eyes.  Give me more big games more frequently in both football and basketball and I’ll be happy, and that’s exactly what this will do.

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